NCEL: Armthorpe almost safe after last gasp victory

Brian Johnston

Brian Johnston

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Two late goals saw Armthorpe Welfare bounce back from a narrow 2-1 midweek defeat at Heanor Town as Brian Johnston’s side twice came from behind to beat Barton Town Old Boys 3-2 at Church Street.

The win, Welfare’s fourth in the last five games, puts them 13 points clear of second from bottom Retford United and barring a sudden upturn in the Badgers’ fortunes, Johnston’s men look almost assured of Premier Division safety.

The visitors edged in front two minutes into the second half in fortuitous circumstances when a quickly taken free-kick saw Brad Ricketts’ intended cross drop into the net.

Armthorpe though were behind for just seven minutes.

Tom McLaughlin got away down the left before crossing into the middle where Billy Lumsden arrived right on cue to thump home a close range volley.

Barton regained the lead with 10 minutes remaining when Ashley Lattimore’s free-kick from just outside the box found the back of the Welfare net.

It looked as if Armthorpe were heading for a second successive defeat but with just two minutes left on the clock from another McLaughlin cross the elder of the two Lumsden brothers, Joe smashed the ball home at the neat post.

McLaughlin then fired inches wide, while Richard Smith sent a header just over the crossbar as Welfare pressed for the winner which eventually arrived in the third minute of stoppage time.

Barton struggled to get the ball away and when Anthony Ryan’s header came back off the bar Joe Lumsden was on hand to tuck away his 21st goal of the season to earn a rejuvenated Armthorpe all three points.

In the first of two away games over the next week, Welfare make the short trip to Handsworth Parramore on Saturday where Johnston’s side will be aiming to complete a league double over their hosts.

A Kieran Benson goal early in the second half was the difference between the teams at Church Street back in October. Handsworth’s form has been hit and miss over the past few weeks which have seen two wins and two defeats in the last six outings.

Then next Wednesday Armthorpe go to out-of sorts Athersley Recreation who are without a win in seven.